How to Choose the Right Welder Technical School near Wasilla Alaska
Locating the right welder school near Wasilla AK is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Wasilla AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Wasilla AK employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding trade school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Technical Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Wasilla AK area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Wasilla AK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Wasilla AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Wasilla AK contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Wasilla AK welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Wasilla AK home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Wasilla AK, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are some online welding classes offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Wasilla AK area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Wasilla AK?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Wasilla Alaska area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Wasilla is a city in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, United States and the sixth-largest city in Alaska. It is located on the northern point of Cook Inlet in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of the southcentral part of the state. The city's population was 7,831 at the 2010 census, up from 5,469 in 2000. Estimates in 2016 put the population at roughly 9,748. Wasilla is the largest city in the borough and a part of the Anchorage metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 396,142 in 2013.
Established at the intersection of the Alaska Railroad and Old Carle Wagon Road, the city prospered at the expense of the nearby mining town of Knik. Historically entrepreneurial, the economic base shifted in the 1970s from small-scale agriculture and recreation to support for workers employed in Anchorage or on Alaska's North Slope oilfields and related infrastructure. The George Parks Highway turned the town into a commuter suburb of Anchorage. Several state and federal agencies have offices in Wasilla, including the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Divisions of Public Assistance, Social Services.
Wasilla gained international attention when Sarah Palin, who served as Mayor of Wasilla before her election as Governor of Alaska, was chosen by John McCain as his running mate for Vice President of the United States in the 2008 United States presidential election.
Select the Right Welding Tech School Wasilla AK
Selecting the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Colleges. However, as we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Wasilla AK.